Sunday December 8, 2019

People With Autism Are Likely to Report Cases of Self Harm and Suicidal Thoughts

A research highlights the risks of such adverse outcomes for those with a high number of autistic traits, if adequate safeguarding and support aren't provided

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Autism
For the study, the research team calculated the genetic likelihood for Autism in 100,000 individuals from the UK Biobank Study who had their DNA analysed and had also provided self-reported information about childhood maltreatment, suicidal ideation and self-harm. Pixabay

People with a higher genetic likelihood of Autism are more likely to report higher childhood maltreatment, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, according to a new study by an Indian-origin researcher.

The study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, shows that the findings hold true even for those with a higher genetic likelihood of autism rather than a formal diagnosis.

Previous studies from the University of Cambridge established that autistic individuals experience higher levels of self-harm, including suicidal thoughts and feelings, and higher rates of childhood maltreatment.

“This new study extends our earlier work by showing that individuals who carry more of the genes associated with autism have higher risks for maltreatment and self-harm,” said study researcher Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor at University of Cambridge.

“Our work highlighting unacceptably higher rates of suicide in autistic people was published 5 years ago, yet almost no new support has been provided,” Baron-Cohen added.

For the study, the research team calculated the genetic likelihood for autism in 100,000 individuals from the UK Biobank Study who had their DNA analysed and had also provided self-reported information about childhood maltreatment, suicidal ideation and self-harm.

Those with the highest genetic predisposition to autism on an average have 28 per cent increase in childhood maltreatment and a 33 per cent increase in self-harm and suicidal ideation compared to those with the lowest genetic predisposition to autism.

Autism
People with a higher genetic likelihood of Autism are more likely to report higher childhood maltreatment, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, according to a new study by an Indian-origin researcher. Pixabay

“While we have found an association between a genetic likelihood for autism and adverse life events, we cannot conclude the former causes the latter,” said study lead author and Indian-origin researcher Varun Warrier.

“We suspect this association reflects that genes partly influence how many autistic traits you have, and some autistic traits such as difficulties in social understanding may lead to a person to be vulnerable to maltreatment, Warrier added.

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This research highlights the risks of such adverse outcomes for those with a high number of autistic traits, if adequate safeguarding and support aren’t provided. (IANS)

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Genetic Variations Influence Risk of Developing Cancer: Study

Study found that variations in the regions that regulate the expression of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes affect cancer risk

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Cancer
While minor genetic changes only have a small impact on Cancer risk, the variations analysed in this study are numerous and common in the population. Pixabay

Shedding new light on why some people develop cancer while others do not, a new study has found that a person’s risk of developing cancer is affected by Genetic variations in regions of DNA that do not code for proteins, previously dismissed as “junk DNA”.

This study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, shows that inherited cancer risk is not only affected by mutations in key cancer genes, but that variations in the DNA that controls the expression of these genes can also drive the disease.

The researchers believe that understanding how non-coding DNA affects the development of this disease could one day improve genetic screening for cancer risk.

And in the future, this could lead to new prevention strategies, or help doctors diagnose the disease earlier, when it is more likely to be treated successfully.

“What we found surprised us as it had never been reported before — our results show that small genetic variations work collectively to subtly shift the activity of genes that drive cancer,” said lead researcher of the study John Quackenbush, Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the US.

Genetic
Shedding new light on why some people develop Cancer while others do not, a new study has found that a person’s risk of developing cancer is affected by genetic variations in regions of DNA that do not code for proteins, previously dismissed as “junk DNA”. Pixabay

“We hope that this approach could one day save lives by helping to identify people at risk of cancer, as well as other complex diseases,” Quackenbush said.

The researchers investigated 846 genetic changes within non-coding stretches of DNA, identified by previous studies as affecting cancer risk.

These Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) are particular positions in the human genome where a single letter of the genetic code varies between people.

Unlike mutations in coding DNA, such as BRCA, that are rare but significantly raise a person’s risk of developing cancer, non-coding SNPs are relatively common in the population but only slightly increase cancer risk.

The team analysed whether there was a correlation between the presence of a particular SNP and the expression of particular genes.

In total, they looked at over six million genetic variants across 13 different body tissues.

Genetic
The researchers believe that understanding how non-coding DNA affects the development of this disease could one day improve genetic screening for cancer risk. Pixabay

They found that variations in the regions that regulate the expression of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes affect cancer risk.

The study also revealed that these cancer-risk SNPs tend to be specifically located in regions that regulate the immune system and tissue-specific processes — highlighting the importance of these cellular processes to the development of cancer.

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“While minor genetic changes only have a small impact on cancer risk, the variations analysed in this study are numerous and common in the population,” said Emily Farthing, senior research information manager at British charity Cancer Research UK. (IANS)